The water goes over the bridge; the ship goes through the tunnel.
April 20, 2013 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Waterbridges are old hat.
Norwegians are now intending to build a ship tunnel; of course there were critics. The idea for the Stad ship tunnel was first mooted in 1874.
posted by adamvasco (45 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Mountains in the way? We are Norwegian; no problem.
posted by Wordshore at 1:11 PM on April 20, 2013


I was about to "double!" but then I realized it was a related Ask Me I was remembering.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:12 PM on April 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is incredible -- thanks for posting, adamvasco. Also, waterbridges are not old hat for me -- that link blew my mind, too!
posted by andromache at 1:16 PM on April 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's one in France (YT) here (maps).
posted by patrick54 at 1:19 PM on April 20, 2013


"There's one in France here

That's just a canal tunnel, and not a particularly long one at that. Not at all the same thing (Canal tunnels are plentiful).
posted by Brockles at 1:32 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


We have just been discussing this on another forum. A poster there shared this other precedent, from the region around Kyoto: the Lake Biwa Canal which included tunnels, as well as an incline rail (2) (!) to cart small freight boats around a dam. The system appears to have operated as a freight route from 1890 to 1948. More information.
posted by waterunderground at 1:33 PM on April 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


So Norway has so much money now it's basically the Richard Branson of countries.
posted by fullerine at 1:35 PM on April 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


When they propose "Ship Balloons," then they will be the Richard Branson of countries.

This grandiosity only lifts them as high as the Larry Ellison of nations.
posted by notyou at 1:48 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


So Norway has so much money now it's basically the Richard Branson of countries.

Norway, with a population smaller than even 22 of the states of the USA? Yes.
posted by Wordshore at 1:55 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


The water goes over the bridge; the ship goes through the tunnel.

Water come out de butt!
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 1:55 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I drove all over Norway last year. Had a lovely time, despite how expensive the place is. But the geography is a significant challenge to roads. Fjords are no joke; basically it's that the mountains run right into the water. So you either build roads that wind impossibly up, around, and back down to get around a fjord, you build a beautiful enormous bridge, or you rely on a ferry. The Norwegians have mostly opted for the latter two. The bridges are amazing and the ferries are remarkably reliable and stress free.
posted by Nelson at 2:04 PM on April 20, 2013


I still give the Falkirk Wheel my vote in the crazy boat infrastructure division.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:16 PM on April 20, 2013 [13 favorites]


Fjords are no joke;

Of course not. They are, after all, award-winning fjords.
posted by kmz at 2:16 PM on April 20, 2013 [14 favorites]


Homeboy Trouble: "I still give the Falkirk Wheel my vote in the crazy boat infrastructure division ."

That thing is crazy! Never heard of it before. Thanks for posting about it.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 2:42 PM on April 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wait. You're building a tunnel so you don't have to go around a stormy cape?

How about building a breakwater instead? Surely that would be easier, safer and cheaper?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:59 PM on April 20, 2013


The Falkirk wheel is awesome. First of all, it only uses 1.5KW-hours of energy to rotate through a half-revolution (ie one boat swapping). Second, it moves REALLY fast. I mean, in actuality it's slow. But just start paying attention to something else while it's moving. When you turn back around, you will be surprised by how far it's moved.
posted by Phredward at 3:03 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, crap. So now, if boating to avoid my fear of heights, I STILL have to deal with it?

Bastards.
posted by Samizdata at 3:10 PM on April 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love the fact that the Norwegians invest their oil money in infrastructure. At least this tunnel's going somewhere.
posted by arcticseal at 3:12 PM on April 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


the Falkirk Wheel

OK, officially agog.

Oh, crap. So now, if boating to avoid my fear of heights, I STILL have to deal with it?

The first time you get sick, the second time you lose your hat.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:13 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sadly, the company that built the Falkirk Wheel is defunct. It's amazing that a business can build something so beautiful and then just die off.
posted by Jehan at 3:20 PM on April 20, 2013


From the second link:

He and his colleagues have had to overcome skepticism and endure ridicule over the project, which some viewed as utopian or “just one big pipe dream.”

Which is funny because it's actually a big pipe.

You know, a big tunnel with water in it is like a big pipe.

Okay, it was funny at the time.
posted by Hamusutaa at 3:25 PM on April 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


I wanted it to be a ship tunnel that went underwater. I'm mad, me.
posted by Decani at 4:44 PM on April 20, 2013


Mais non. That's the logical next step.
posted by sneebler at 4:48 PM on April 20, 2013


I wanted it to be a ship tunnel that went underwater. I'm mad, me.

For some reason, my initial image was more or less of a 'boat underpass', where they would dig deeper to go under something, and let boats travel along the tunnel. Sort of like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, only bigger. But I was trying to imagine how that would actually work, and wasn't coming up with anything immediately obvious.

The actual idea is cool, but rather prosaic in comparison. It's just a big tunnel, across a cape, at sea level. In July, boats go there.
posted by Malor at 4:57 PM on April 20, 2013


This post makes me realize that I definitely don't understand infrastructure because how are water bridges less expensive than ... something else?

Or maybe I just don't understand topography because we don't have any here. Maybe hills make boat-carrying aqueducts seem like a good idea. Water's heavy, though. Seems crazy.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:38 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wanted it to be a ship tunnel that went underwater. I'm mad, me.

Not so mad, just not well enough traveled: Boat bridge!
posted by sammyo at 6:51 PM on April 20, 2013


And I really really want to take a boat on the Falkirk wheel, do you get to stay on your boat? Yes you do!
posted by sammyo at 7:04 PM on April 20, 2013


Okay, it was funny at the time.

It's still funny!
posted by hapax_legomenon at 8:44 PM on April 20, 2013


I'll see your Falkirk Wheel and raise you the caisson lock (shudder).
posted by tss at 8:50 PM on April 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Geez you'd think they would have used a circular cross section pressure vessel rather than a box.
posted by Mitheral at 10:49 PM on April 20, 2013


> This post makes me realize that I definitely don't understand infrastructure because how are water bridges less expensive than ... something else?

Usually canals aren't actually one long continuous, multiple miles long, constructed piece of waterway. They are usually connecting existing waterways to ensure an easily navigatable route between locations. Bonus points for minimal elevation gain (water runs down hill) and maximizing existing waterways.

All of a sudden a very expensive water bridge, but replaces the need to have a complicated lock system with just a simple (relatively) structure, that also opens up an entirely new shipping route between locations becomes extremely cheap compared to the amount of trade revenue (and tolls) you can generate.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:38 PM on April 20, 2013


Bad idea. What happens when they wake up a sea troll?
posted by homunculus at 11:50 PM on April 20, 2013


Falkirk is cool, this is more: Strepy-Thieu

I've been to Falkirk but not on a boat. I saw Strepy-Thieu from a rest stop, after a long weekend on a boat on Belgian canals, but didn't get to that lift. Maybe next time :-) Maybe We'll go try the British canals next time. Sounds fun having to operate locks for yourself.
posted by Goofyy at 1:03 AM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, I wanted to add: Weird article that it doesn't include a map of the location. Seems at least as obvious as artist's drawings.
posted by Goofyy at 1:04 AM on April 21, 2013


I don't know if we're that good at investing in infrastructure, arcticseal. (Roads and railways are a bit lacking.) We are quite good at not trying to outspend the rest of the world on military and security matters, though. By percentage of GDP we spend 1/3 of the US on the military. The social and health sectors receive heavy funding compared to the US.
posted by Harald74 at 1:11 AM on April 21, 2013


Can I get any love for the Anderton Boat Lift?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:31 AM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


homunculus, I think if they lay off the death metal, they'll be fine.
posted by indubitable at 3:54 AM on April 21, 2013


In other Norwegian infrastructure news, the road authorities are considering building a new 1.4 km four-lane bridge out of wood (in Norwegian, sorry). The currently longest wooden car traffic bridge in the world is also in Norway: Flisa Bru.
posted by Harald74 at 5:50 AM on April 21, 2013


I propose that this ship tunnel shall be known henceforth as the "shunnel."
posted by sour cream at 6:48 AM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another option in Norway is the submerged floating tunnel.
posted by ShooBoo at 8:00 AM on April 21, 2013


If I'm reading your link right Harald74 the Flisa Bru is 196 metres long. If true that isn't the longest wood vehicle bridge in the world by a wide margin. I'm guessing the Kamloops Red Bridge isn't the worlds longest because I've never heard it described that way but it at 1200'/366m it is much longer than the Flisa Bru. Maybe they are using the the free span of 70.5m for the worlds longest claim and I can't seem to find the free span distance of the Red Bridge.

South to North drive over the Red Bridge.
posted by Mitheral at 9:54 AM on April 21, 2013


How is a ship tunnel not just a really long canal tunnel?

Wait. You're building a tunnel so you don't have to go around a stormy cape?

How about building a breakwater instead? Surely that would be easier, safer and cheaper?


One mile of tunnel might be a lot cheaper than hundreds of miles of breakwaters in the North sea.
posted by gjc at 12:45 PM on April 21, 2013


A tunnel for ships just feels like horrible nightmare fuel to me. At least in the open sea you have the option of the infinite blackness around you, above or below, but enclosed? There's only drowning. Forever.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 3:19 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


So basically, they're investing their oil money in... something that loses value as sea levels rise?
posted by pwnguin at 9:20 PM on April 21, 2013


So basically, they're investing their oil money in... something that loses value as sea levels rise?

They could probably build it a little tall and run a ceiling scraper through every decade or so if necessary.
posted by gjc at 2:11 AM on April 22, 2013


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